Ensnared (A.G. Howard, 2015)


Read as part of the Fairy Tale Retelling Challenge.

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world–a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

(Text from goodreads)

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I have very mixed feelings about this book, because on the one hand I really wanted to like it for its retelling of Alice in Wonderland, but on the other hand all the characters really started to get on my last nerves and we weren’t really in the Wonderland that I wanted to revisit from the first book. It’s funny how my rating for this series has just gone somewhat down since the first book, which I absolutely loved. The second was just short of the first one and then this last one was just okay in my opinion.

In this third – and what was supposed to be the last book in the Splintered series we travel with Alyssa and her dad (!) to AnyElsewhere which is something of an in-between stop between the real world and Wonderland. I did not AnyElsewhere one bit, it was too boring and the only action that really took place in this book was the battle between the two boys for Alyssa’ love. In the first book it became pretty obvious that there was going to be a love triangle in this story, I just didn’t think it would take that much focus from the rest of the story. Especially in this last book it has too much of an emphasis in the story.

Alyssa travels to AnyElsewhere not only to save her two ‘lovers’ but also to put a final stop to the Red Queen to reclaim her kingdom. I was waiting for a massive battle for the throne so to say, but all of a sudden this so-called battle was over just like that. What seemed like it was going to be a big battle of will power suddenly turned into an easy kick and then things were over. Things were just dragged out far too much and then things were resolved too quickly for my liking.

“I think of the tiny diary in the ballet bag. Red’s regrets were so acute, she cast them aside, abandoning the memories that made them. But there’s no “forgetting potion” I can take. And even if there were, I wouldn’t. Nothing can be erased if I’m going to put things right for everyone. And I will, no matter what it costs me in the end.”

Some of the good things were for instance the beginning when Alyssa has to prepare to battle Red and the precautions she takes to prepare herself, I liked how she was preparing to stand up for herself in such grand manners (but again this just fell flat as the story progressed and these steps became obsolete). Another thing I liked what the growing relationship between Alyssa and her father although it also seemed to spiral much too fast without the necessary explanations. In the beginning I also liked Morpehus – I’ve never really liked Jeb that much for being an overprotective lap dog to put it straight – but he also began to get on my nerves for being too pushy and desperate to get his way of things. Unfortunately Alyssa also somehow started to irritate me as a character for being too persuasive and indecisive. All three characters have their good and bad sides; unfortunately this book only really forwarded their more negative sides of things.

Overall I thought this last book was okay because it was the end of the series – or so I thought – which is another thing I felt was way too rushed in the epilogue, but I won’t get into spoiler details about that. I still think I would read the next book, just so find out whether or not the characters haven’t returned to what I liked about them, and hopefully we will have returned to Wonderland as well, which was what I loved about this series originally.

3 star

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